Now a teenager and offered in its third generation, the Honda CR-V remains one of the country’s most popular compact sport utility vehicles. It debuted in Japan in 1995, arrived as a Chicago Auto Show display in 2006 and debuted in United States dealerships in 2007.
A decade later, the CR-V overtook its toughest competitors in sales, even the segment leader Ford Explorer. It became the country’s top-selling SUV with more than 219,000 sold units. The Ford Explorer had been top-ranked for 15 consecutive years.
The CR-V hasn’t reached its 2007 sales total since, but it still remains a favorite with annual U.S. sales of around 200,000.
(Editor’s note: TheWeeklyDriver.com is now 10 years old. We’re visiting our archives to review cars once new and now well-suited for best-buy status in the used market. One solid offering is a 2011 Honda CR-V. It’s only three years old, which is just getting started for the popular SUV.)
The current generation, which began in 2007, gained new features and had other “refreshments” in 2010. For 2011, the CR-V lineup gains a new trim.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
As a five-passenger compact SUV, the CR-V has a lot to offer. It’s spacious, comfortable, versatile, refined for its segment, and among the most driver-friendly SUVs on the market.
The Honda CR-V has a good share of technology, but it’s not futuristic stuff. It requires the user to rely on common sense (engaging the hidden CD player, for instance) rather than hi-tech wizardry.
My weekly test vehicle was the EX-L trim with navigation. Like the LX, SE (new for 2011) and EX, the EX-L has a 4-cylinder and 180-horsepower (an increase of 14 horsepower from the previous edition) engine. All trims have a five-speed automatic transmission.
Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, and front-side airbags. All CR-V models have a rear bench seat that can slide forward or back for more passenger or cargo room.
A sunroof is standard on the EX and EX-L and power driver seat, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control are standard on the EX-L only. A navigation system and wireless cellphone link were included on my test vehicle and are available only on the EX-L.
The CR-V EX-L was an especially good test vehicle because the only other vehicle in our family is a 2009 CR-V. It’s my wife’s commuter car. Like the EX-L, it’s all-wheel drive, but it doesn’t feature the various upgrades and model refinements.
But like the 2011 edition, the two-year-old model provides the same industry standard for versatility and comfort.
Good overall visibility.
Leather seats are particularly comfortable.
Heated seats work quickly and well.
Hard to beat for legroom and headroom and overall cargo space.
Navigation system and back-up camera offer good screen clarity.
It needs more horsepower.
Console between front seats not adjustable like previous years’ offerings.
Despite good gas mileage estimates, during my weekly test driver, the average was a mediocre 15.5 mpg.
Facts & Figures: 2011 Honda CR-V
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 10.1 seconds.
Airbags: Dual Front, front side and side curtain.
Antilock brakes: standard
First aid kit: not available.
Fuel economy: 21 mpg (city), 27 mpg (highway)
Government Safety Ratings: NHTSA, not tested; IIHS, frontal offset (good), side impact (good), roof strength (marginal), rear crash (good)
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $29,895
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.
What Others Say:
“The CR-V is not the most powerful compact SUV, but it excels for its just-right blend of comfort, refinement, passenger room, and cargo versatility.” —- ConsumerGuide.
“As practical as a backpack, this benchmark crossover is an easy, stylish one-size-fits-most car choice.” — Kelley Blue Book.
“Over a few hundred test miles, what stood out was the general lack of complaints we had with this little SUV.” — Autoblog.
What The Wife Says:
“An old favorite of mine, however, I wouldn’t trade in my two-year-old car for this one. Which is a good thing.”
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“It doesn’t offer the best gas mileage, the most power, or the most of anything, really. Except what it does offer is ultimate dependability and practical functionality. Add it all up and the CR-V is a can’t-go-wrong compact SUV.”